THE RIVER AND THE SOURCE by Margaret Ogola

CHAPTER SIX

ANOTHER ROCK FOR MY SLING-OWANG’SINO

After her return from Yimbo, Akoko conceived and begat a baby boy who was named Owang’Sino. The boy was fond of his father and glowed with pleasure with his father was around. Owour Kembo remained monogamous. His brother had now four wives with 18 children. There is contrast between the two brothers. ‘Otieno treated his wives like sluts while Owuor treated his wife like a queen. In both cases the treatment was returned without fail. ‘

 

Years ran into each other and stories about the White man, jorochere started reaching Sakwa. The stories were embellished by Ambere K’Ongoso. People half believed Ambere but when he went again with Nyaroche, the stories were now too much for Obura. They talked about Pesa and many more exciting things. This attracted the curiosity of Obura Kembo. He was 17 seasons old.

Obura broached the question to his mother whom his was fond of. She reprimanded him for being lazy and believing stories of the two lay abouts were saying. She advised Obura, since he was 17 seasons old, to look for a girl from Chumbu Kombit if he wanted to walk and see the world. She reminded Obura about his position as first born and in line to become chief.

Akoko talked to her husband who advised his son too. After talking to his son, he called Nyaroche and Ambere and warned them about filling his son ‘with stupid talk.’  

 

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER SIX

  1. The conception and birth of Akoko’s second son Owang’Sino
  2. Stories about Jorochere and Obura’s curiosity.
  3. The parent’s curiosity about Obura’s suggestions and forewarning him.

 

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER SIX

  1. Explain your understanding of collaboration as displayed in The River and the Source.
  2. What is your opinion about the role of young people in the state of colonialism in Kenya?

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER SIX

  1. Chapter pictures how it is easier to manage a young family and the boisterous and disorderliness of a huge and polygamous family. Outline some other differences between monogamy and polygamy.
  2. The curiosity in Obura is atypical response that young people have shown towards change. The parent’s however check on the on them by warning of the unexpected.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

OBURA ESCAPES

Is it possible to detain a young mind? Obura disapproves Owuor Kembo and AKoko Nyar Alego by eloping with Nyaroche and Ambere. When the morning comes, the village wakes with the sad reality that the three men were missing. A search party is hastily formed to look for the three men.

Akoko fears for her boy. She pleads to Were, god of the rising sun. She prays earnestly. After hours of searching, the search party to Gem came with the sad news, which the three had been taken away by the white men’s moving metals. Akoko mourns with a reality of doom that only a mother feels.

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER SEVEN

  1. The escape of Obura.
  2. The news from the herdsmen which prompts formation of a search party.
  3. Akoko’s premonition.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER SEVEN

  1. Explain the gravity of Obura’s escape  to the village of Sakwa.
  2. According to Akoko’s Premonition do you think she believes her son will come back unscathed. Explain
  3. What is the significance of Akoko’s premonition in the development of the plot.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER SEVEN

  1. This chapter fills us with a premonition of doom. It outlines the first impediment the River encounters on its course.
  2. Obura just like other young characters from other books, Nwoye, in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and Waiyaki in The River Between, Represent a clique of young people who were daring to go against the norm of the society. Significantly, they represent different views of the authors on the process of colonialism and how Africans are to behave in post colonial Africa. The way Ngugi wa Thimg’o portends in the character of waiyaki is an educated African elite who comes back too ‘domesticate’ his knowledge and not ‘alienate’ the people with his knowledge. Sadly, Chinua Achebe and Margaret Ogola do not expound on this issue in their books.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

TRAGEDY

THE sudden departure of Obura hangs in the air for a very long time. The people of Sakwa waited in anticipation for what may come of the son of owuor Kembo. Apart from very few who had ventured out, the people of sakwa had never gotten in touch with the outside world.

 

One day when people dressed in modern clothes came to sakwa, they were greeted with curious stares from the children. These men were bearers of sad news. In the outside world the Jo-Ingereza- the English were fighting with the Jo-jerman. The year was 1918.

 

The bearers of sad news were directed to the chief’s house. They claimed to have been sent by the sirikal-Whiteman’s government. The chief listened to them keenly as they explained what sirikal is, the British-German war and what essentially had brought them to Sakwa.

 

The man, who was obviously the spokesman for he did most of the talking, asked the chief whether he knew three man from the village that is Obura Kembo, Nyoroche Silwal and Ambere K’Ongoso. The tree men had gone to war in Tanganyika. Of the three only Nyaroche had survived.

The news was unbearable to the chief who wanted to strangle Nyaroche wherever he was but he learned that the poor Nyaroche was a beggar in Kisuma after losing a leg in war. The village went into mourning for the fallen hero. The fact that there was no body to bury aggravated the condition.

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER EIGHT

  1. The memories of Obura refuse to disappear and hangs in the air becoming ominous
  2. War between the jo-ingereza and Jo-jerman
  3. Arrival of messengers with strange clothing.
  4. The Revelation that Obura Kembo and Ambere K’Ongoso died in war

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER EIGHT

  1. 1.       Explain how people in your community announce death.
  2. 2.       What are the practices in your community when a person dies away and the body is not brought for burial?

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER EIGHT

  1. The cultural practices surrounding the welcome of guests, the visitors were supposed to be taken to the chief’s house before going to their host
  2. The big role of the first son and the void he leaves when he dies especially if the son was the heir of the chiefs’ stool

 

CHAPTER NINE

IMPACT OF TRAGEDY

Nyabera was 13 when her brother’s news arrived. She was grieved beyond crying and kept qiuet prompting her mother’s (Akoko) intervention. Thereafter, she cried until she would cry no more. She took to wearing the only memory of her brother, the souvenir bracelet the strangers who had brought the sad news left behind. There were inscritptions on the bracelet that if she were learned whe would have read OWUOR, OBURA KEMBO: KAR MIA 1918. The initials KAR means Kenya African Rifles an equivalent to Kenya Army, MIA means Missing In Action.

Akoko  believed that a woman ought to be intelligent, fast on her feet and working. According to Akoko stupidity in a woman was a sin only greater than stupidity in a man, for a man can always find an astute wife to cover his folly, but there’s no man born who can cover a gaping hole left by a foolish woman. (Pg65)

Akoko’s wealth grew that his cattle were so many, to avoid confusion and frustration for watering her cattle. A dam was build for her. At 18, suitors started to call to the house of Owour Kembo for Nyabera. Akoko did not want it to go down as it went down many seasons ago. Finally, a neighbour fro the neighbouring village was chosen for Nyabera.

Nyabera was married to OKumu Angolo. The first three birth of nyabera ended up with the children living for a few months and then dying.

Owang’sino too came of age. Jawang’yo were dispatched to look for him a wife. A suitable girl was found in Uyoma. Before bride price could be paid chief owuor Kembo succumbed to his illness and died. Akoko dorned in Chief Owour Kembo’s monkey skin, took his spear and mourned her husband in great honour. (pg69)

After the burial of chief negotiations went on and ALando Nyar Uyoma was married to Owang’Sino who was now chief. Tragedy seemed to have attacked AKoko’s household, for after getting his first born a Son-Owuor Sino, who  was just starting to walk, chief Owang’Sino choked on a fish bone and died.

The leadership descended on the Otieno Kembo, who was the younger brother to Owuor kembo husband of Akoko for chik did not allow a young person, who was not of marriageable age like Owuor Sino to take over leadership.

 

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER NINE

  1. 1.       Nyabera’s shock and recovery from his brother, Obura death.
  2. 2.       Marriage of Nyabera and her string of dead children.
  3. 3.       The death and mourning of Chief Owour Kembo.
  4. 4.       Marriage of Owang’Sino to Alando Nyar Uyoma
  5. 5.       The death of Owang’Sino
  6. 6.       Otieno Kembo takes over the leadership of Sakwa.

 

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER NINE

  1. Explain the significance of the tragedy of Akoko with the death of her only sons and her husband?
  2. What is your evaluation of the luo system of leadership?

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER NINE

  1. In a society that is dominated by men, it seem like the walls shielding Akoko had now crumbled, would she manage to remodel her life under the overzealous Otieno Kembo?
  2. Akoko was also called Akelo, Akelo was a childless mother. What is in a name? could her child bearing be traced back to the name Akelo? Can we substantiate the death of two of her children with the fact that she was AKelo?

 

CHAPTER TEN

THE NEW REGIME

Otieno took over leadership with glee and ignorance. As the only male, he took to squandering AKoko’s wealth by marrying another wife and devouring in it mercilessly. Akoko, having no mature son to protect her felt disadvantaged as a woman. She felt helpless and she suddenly needed help.

Being given to sharp memory, she remembered the white man in Kisuma. She made contact with the sirikal. Before she went, Akoko paid her daughter Nyabera who was still on a losing spree having just lost another child. She comforted her and  reaveled her plans of going to Kisuma. She also left her grandson in the hands of Oloo her brother in Yimbo.

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER TEN

  1. The leadership of Otieno Kembo
  2. Akoko’s worry and lack of support against the Otieno’s
  3. Akoko’s decision to go to kisuma.
  4. Nyabera with her incessant tragedies.

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER TEN

  1. What’s your observation about the position of women in this society?
  2. Do you think it was advisable for Akoko to reach out to sirikal?
  3. Can we conclude that the lack of freedom prompted Africans to reach out to the colonial masters?

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER TEN

  1. The position of a woman is clearly brought out in this chapter. AKoko had toiled for years to build her wealth to staggering proportions, but now with no son to look upto or husband, she watches helplessly as her brother in law, Otieno Kembo, devours in her wealth.
  2. One of the things that prompted Africans to collaborate with colonial power was draconian African unwritten laws. Some of these oppressive laws are; A woman not owning nothing which prompts Akoko to reach out to the Sirikal.

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

TRAIL OF PROTEST TO KISUMA

Oloo commands his twin sons Opiyo and Odongo, now mature adults to guard his sister on her way to Kisuma. AKoko, when she sees them, tries to back them down to no avail. The journey begun very early in the morning, like most journeys, these one took Odongo and Opiyo down the history of the clan. AKoko who had mastered the art of storytelling, spun the myth of the Luo dicing in some juicy morsel for the boys to devour.

According to the Luo, Were- God of the rising sun created Ramogi and his brothers and sent them to different parts of the world. Ramogi was sent to the lake region because he had more spirit. Were gave Ramogi a wife Nyar Nam-who embodied th spirit of the lake. They had many sons including Rachuonyo, Sakwa, Asembo, Yimbo, Gem, Uyoma, Nyakach, Seme, and Ugenya.

The children of Ramogi have thrown many heroes like Lwanda Magere, Gor Mahia, Lela Kabanda, Onyango Randar, Ogutu Kipap Among others. (Pg 81-82)

They finally arrived in Kisuma. The town had changed significantly. They met a stranger and enquired on how the can meet the big Chief. The stranger notified them that the town was no longer Kisuma but rather Kisumu. He further told them that the big chief was called the DO-diyoo.

The stranger welcomed them to his house to spend the night since Sunday was not a working day. He told OPiyo and Odongo that they no longer need to carry weapons for the sirikal provided security.

Finally, they lodged their complaint to the DO and the tribunal.

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER ELEVEN

  1. For the journey to Kisumu and the journey itself.
  2. History of the Luo community.
  3. Akoko waits for three days before she lodged a complaint to the tribunal.

 

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER ELEVEN

  1. 1.       Explain the significance of the myth in this chapter.
  2. 2.       Is this journey of any significance to the flow of the story? Explain.

 

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER ELEVEN

  1. One of the factors evident as a cause of change is desperation (suffering). Akoko’s decision to go to Kisumu was caused by her feeling the weight of the ineptitude in a male dominated society. It is eident in the boool that there was nothing she could have done under the greed and boisterous uncaring Otieno.
  2. Civilization has not that way robbed Africans the spirit of helping one another. Despite being strangers, Okumu, welcomes Akoko and the two armed men into his house in Kisumu. 

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

AKOKO BECOMES A MIGOGO

Akoko presented her case to the white Do and the tribunal. The DO having listened to their case, needed three months duration to investigate the matter. The twins were amazed at the turn of events that to Odongo it became a story to tell his future generation.

Akoko returned to Sakwa and was shocked to find the wealth she had worked for so in so many years had reduced significantly. Before long, people were seen in the village investigating the issue as the DO had promised.

Akoko did not have to wait for three months for her case to re-open. She went back to Kisumu and the matter was re-opened. The DC and the tribunal suggested that Otino Kembo be removed from office and the council of Jodongo to rule. The council my appoint someone to act as chief. Otieno was to be made to pay all he had grabbed from Akoko.

After the case, she went back to Sakwa where she took the last of her remaining wealth. She left Sakwa and went back to her paternal home where she lived as a migogo in her brother Oloo’s house.

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN CHAPTER TWELVE

  1. Disrespect of Otieno over the wealth of AKoko’s wealth and his anger over what he sees as Akoko’s mistake when she appealed to sirikal.
  2. The deliberation of Akoko’s matter by the sirikal.
  3. Akoko goes back to Yimbo

QUESTIONS FROM CHAPTER TWELVE

  1. Discuss some of societal prejudices that demean the rights of women in African society.
  2. In your own opinion, do you think Akoko got a fair hearing? Explain.

OBSERVATIONS MADE FROM CHAPTER TTWELVE

  1. It is evident that colonial administration is slowly replacing what was previously traditional form of leadership with modern where the people through the council of jodongo can exercise their rights by removing a bad leader.
  2. Akoko with all her active decisions opens the interior of Luo land to the outside world. She also advocates for the rights of women who in this society do not own anything and suffer the wrath of male insubordination.

 

 

END OF PART I

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16 thoughts on “THE RIVER AND THE SOURCE by Margaret Ogola

  1. very awesome work okach.doing my degree in English literature and I love the way you analyse the book.simple and clear… love your blog man

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